All For Jesus – Hymns of Dawn No. 8

All For Jesus – Hymns of Dawn No. 8

Bible Scriptures Associated With This Hymn

Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)

“(1) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1, 2, ESV).

1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV)

“For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20, ESV).

Philippians 3:7-11 (KJV)

“(7) But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (8) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (10) that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (11) that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11, ESV).

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There are many names and titles of Jesus found in the Bible, and each of them contains a description or illustration of his life and work. Here is a post which examines some of those names in order to gain the lessons found in the deeper meanings in Jesus’ name: JESUS — The Namehttps://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

Jesus is the world’s ransom — The following two references explain how and why:

(1) Who is the World’s Ransom and Why — https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/29/who-is-the-worlds-ransom-and-why/

(2) The Ransom” —
http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2007/02_ma_07.pdf%5D in Faithbuilders Fellowship (“Journal” section) March-April 2007.

Here is some brief content from the latter referenced article above (“The Ransom”) concerning the two applications of Christ’s blood:

1.  The first application — is for the consecrated class, those who accept Christ now, and accept Jesus’ invitation to self-denial and cross bearing (Hebrews 9:24).

2. The second application — the one for all the remainder of Israel, shows that after this age for the consecrated, another age of redemption follows. This will be for the remainder of the world those who will be blessed by the saints when, as a class, they are complete in glory with Christ.

Now we see that Jesus’ death, by itself, did not automatically bring release from the curse. Jesus was raised from the dead with the value of the Ransom price he provided, and by God’s design Jesus himself is the one who applies the value of the Ransom. He applies it first to us who consecrate our lives now, and later to the world during the Millennium. Jesus died for our offences to provide the Ransom value and was raised again for our justification to apply the Ransom (Romans 4:25).

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Lyrics

1.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed pow’rs;
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All my days and all my hours.

2.
Let my hands perform his bidding;
Let my feet run in his ways;
Let my eyes see Jesus only;
Let my lips speak forth his praise.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
Let my lips speak forth his praise.

3.
Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside—
So enchained my spirit’s vision,
Looking at the crucified.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All for Jesus crucified.

The History Of This Hymn

Author – Mary D. James (1810-1883)

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When Mary D. James was 13 years old, she began teaching Sunday school in the Methodist Episcopal church. She became a prominent figure in the Wesleyan Holiness movement, assisting Phoebe Palmer, and often leading meetings at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and elsewhere. She wrote about 50 hymns, and articles by her appeared in various journals and newspapers.

 

 

Composer – Asa Hull (1828 – ?)

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As of 1895, Hull was a music publisher in New York City; his company was still operating as of 1910.

Suggested Further Reading

Here are some free online articles in relation to the Heavenly Father—Jehovah and his Son—Christ Jesus—“a ransom FOR ALL… to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:6), as well as, about the holy Spirit (the understanding of God) with clear explanations about why the anti-Christ teaching of “the trinity”—introduced by the Roman Catholic Church system (the “Beast” in the Book of Revelation) is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible Students Movement does not support the teaching of purgatory nor does it support the Roman Catholic System’s teaching about people being sent to a place where they burning up forever which certainly does not reflect the perfect love of God — the Almighty Creator of all things.

For the interested Reader, we urge you to consider the following articles and posts:

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Mystery or Confusion by Br. David Rice.
http://www.heraldmag.org/1999/99nd_3.htm

The Origin of the Trinity – From Paganism To Constantine by Sr. Cher-El L. Hagensick.
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm

Facts About the Trinity
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/FACTS%20ABOUT%20THE%20TRINITY.htm

God and the Trinities
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_42.htm

Development of the “Trinity Doctrine” by Br. Tom Gilbert.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2010d.pdf

Understanding John 1:1 by Br. Richard Doctor.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2010d.pdf

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/23/father-son-and-holy-spirit/

What Is the Heavenly Father’s Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Jesus – The Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

The Doctrine of Christ – Booklet
http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased at:

The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/
The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm

Acknowledgment & References

  • Br. Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916)

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Br. Charles Russell — the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn.”  With the assistance of Maria Frances Russell (1850 – 1938) — the former Maria Frances Ackley (whom Russell had married in 1879) — this Bible Students’ devotional was published in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (USA) in 1890. It originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

 

 

 

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled “Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.
Hymns of Dawn.jpg

  •  Br. David Rice — For the article “The Ransom.” Faithbuilders Fellowship (“Journal” section) March-April 2007. http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2007/02_ma_07.pdf
  • “Hymnary.org” and “Wikipedia” — hymn history content.

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Links and Bible Resources. BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/links/

Beliefs. Bible Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/beliefs/

 

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1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 – Prayer – The “Oxygen” for the New Creature in Christ.

 

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“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense.” Psalm 141:2

This is the same thought elsewhere expressed in the Bible—that the prayers of God’s people rise up before him as a sweet perfume (Revelation 5:8).

The incense of old, which typified the prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3), was composed of a rare mixture of spices, giving forth a peculiarly sweet odor and nobody was allowed to make that incense except the priests who were to offer it (Exodus 30:34-38; 37:29).

Aaron, brother of Moses and the first High Priest of Israel

Thus again the Lord shows us that the privilege of prayer, of approaching him in an acceptable manner, and praying directly to the Heavenly Father through Christ, is confined to the anti-typical priests, called by Apostle Peter the “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9).

“Only those of the Lord’s people who have consecrated their lives to him, even unto death, are thus represented as members of the sacrificing priesthood, to whom the Apostle wrote, saying, ‘I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, and your reasonable service’ (Romans 12:1). The Lord has pledged to this particular class that he will hear them… he will answer them—not necessarily according to their natural preferences, but he will heed the spirit of their cry and give to them, according to his wisdom, the experiences and blessings most helpful” (R5692).

Luke 18:1 reads “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”

Prayer is the attempt to gain access to the presence of God, and to hold communion with him, and thus, prayer prepares the way for divine blessing and superlative joys (Volume 6, Studies in the Scriptures, p. 679).

“In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures forevermore,” declares the prophet (Psalm 16:11).

We must not grow disheartened and discouraged because of the delay in the answer to our prayers.

“Consider Jesus lest ye be weary and faint in your minds,” “for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Hebrew 12:3; Galatians 6:9).

The Motive Behind our Prayers

The Apostle James speaks of some who offer improper petitions. He says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (James 4:3).

The word lusts here signifies desires.

“We are not to ask to gratify fleshly desires. An example of this, could be praying to the Heavenly Father to send us a million dollars, telling Him that we knew what to do with the money, and how to use it in His work. The Lord probably would not give it—for we would probably be asking amiss. But it might be that we would think that we were asking wisely.

“Whenever we ask anything from the Lord, we should scrutinize our motives to see if there is any personality connected with the matter. In our own case we should ask ourselves: Do we want that million dollars in order that we may shine in the use of it? If so, such a prayer would be a grossly improper prayer. We might offer such a prayer at the beginning of our Christian experience, and the Father would not chide us for it. We would excuse a child for doing what we would not excuse in one of adult years.

“In respect to this matter of prayer our Lord gives us a cue. It is this:

“If ye abide in Me and My Words abide in you, ye may ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

“For God’s Word to abide in us implies that we have a knowledge of God’s Word. This necessitates the studying of the Word of God, that we may know what to pray for… We should consider what the Word of God teaches on this subject, and if any one has become well acquainted with the Word of God, he should know whether or not he has met the conditions which will sanctify his prayer. It is only after he has come to this position that he may continue to make his request, nothing doubting. But very likely he will then find that he has not a very large list of petitions that he can present” (R5311).

WHAT TO PRAY FOR.jpg

The New Creature’s Greatest Need

In order to pray properly, the child of God should know what he may pray for. The things that the heavenly Father is pleased to give to his children are heavenly things.

1. THE HOLY SPIRIT.jpg

“The new creature is on trial for the new nature—for glory, honor, immortality. And he can receive these only as he is worthy. The terms on which he is received into spiritual relationship with the Father are that he shall mortify, deaden, the earthly impulses and seek to have the spiritual impulses quickened (R5311).

With persistence in our petitions to God we will know what is proper to pray for by studying the words of Jesus and the apostles and the prophets of old. The spirit-begotten ones may thus understand what are the rights and privileges of sons of God. To these the Heavenly Father is more willing to give the holy Spirit than earthly parents are willing to give good gifts to their children (Matthew 7:11).

“The holy Spirit is the one thing which the new creature needs” (R.5310).

Thus, the most important thing that the New Creature in Christ is to pray for, is for the holy Spiritthe spirit of holiness, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Truth, the spirit of a sound mind, the spirit of love. The Master’s words are, “If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good (earthly) gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).

God is particularly willing to give us the holy Spirit, and especially pleased that we ask for it.

This does not mean that earthly interests will be ignored, since our Heavenly Father knows perfectly what things of an earthly character we have need of, just as He knows what we have need of for our spiritual welfare (R5311).

The child of God should feel that it is a privilege to have the Lord’s approval of every thought, every act, and every word (R5310).

“What we do is God’s work, not ours… Today the Lord may be leading us by the still waters and in green pastures… Tomorrow the pathway may be thorny and through rough places. Thus day by day we grow in knowledge and grow in love, and we should be ready for whatever experiences may come to us: ‘Content whatever lot I see, Since ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me’ ” (R5312).

The prayer of one who asks only in harmony with the Lord’s Word is certain to be answered.

“It is best not to use any set form of words in prayer, but merely to think in advance what you desire of the Spirit—more faith, more patience, more meekness, more love.

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Praying For Wisdom

In James 1:5, we are encouraged to pray for wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not.” 

By this wisdom we may be enabled to speak and act in a way that will be helpful to others.

“In order to have the holy Spirit in large measure, we must keep near to the Lord… The illumination of the Spirit will… become brighter in proportion to our realization of our own imperfections and to the degree of our consecration to the Lord. This we manifest by the zeal with which we study his will as expressed in his Word, and with which we practice that will in the affairs of life. These are the means by which we may supply the oil to keep our light burning brightly. But while we are endeavoring to do this, we must see to it that we do not come into contact with anything which will tend to extinguish the flame of sacred love in our hearts.

“The world, the flesh and the devil are all in opposition to the light of the holy Spirit. To whatever extent they are brought into contact with the light, to that extent they smother itt. We should ever be on our guard lest we allow anything to dim or to extinguish our love for the Lord, for the truth or for holiness and Christ- likeness” (R5129, R5130).

What else should be prayed for and what are the effects of this?

Here are suggestions of what we are to pray for.

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Our affections must be upon the spiritual food—upon the bread which came down from heaven and upon all the precious promises of God of which Christ is the center and substance. These we must seek, these we must appropriate; and for these, therefore, the substance of our prayers will be. Thus our watching, praying and daily seeking will be in full accord. Moreover, thanksgiving must largely take the place of requests, from the time that we learn of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine provision, for both the New Creation and for our dear ones according to the flesh, and for all the families of the earth. What could we ask for more or better than God has already promised?

Daily breadBut is not this something for the flesh?  This is a necessity, and the Lord has warranted us in praying for our necessities.

“We are to use our judgment the best we may; yet we are not to trust to our own efforts alone, but to the Lord’s supervising care. If, therefore, the temporal supply be scant, we are to learn the lesson of frugality and care of what we have.

“We should learn very early in life not to be wasteful. When Jesus fed the multitude with the loaves and fishes, and then instructed his disciples to take up the remainder of these in their baskets, he illustrated his economy.

“We are to eat with thankfulness what we have, if it is merely bread and water, or potatoes and salt. There is nothing to indicate that we are to ask for pie or cake or ice-cream, but for the necessities. If in God’s providence He furnishes the necessities and withholds the luxuries, then we are to be satisfied, to be thankful (R5311).

Let us also ask ourselves daily: Did we waste anything today? Did we eat too much today—twice as much as we had need for? “If so, the Lord will probably teach you some lesson, and it will be for your good as a New Creature. But if you have used wisdom and economy, He will provide the things needful. As the Prophet says, “Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure” (R5311).

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Deliverance from the Evil One—which should lead us to see that there is an Evil One, and that we are not sufficient of ourselves to resist his attacks successfully. We need the Lord’s help at all times, and we need to pray continually and not to faint (R5311).

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Forgiveness of our trespasses daily—which are the result of our fleshly imperfections. “Our trespasses of the flesh today should be a great deal less than similar trespasses with us ten years ago or five years or even one year ago” (R5311).

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God’s Kingdom to come—By praying without doubting it, we are strengthening in our faith more and more.

“Let our affections be set on things above, and not on things beneath—upon the robe of Christ’s righteousness and our future glorious apparel, when we shall be like our Lord and see him as he is, rather than on earthly apparel” (R5311).

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Express thanks for Divine care and to request a continuance of the same.

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Prayer and praise should always go up to heaven arm in arm, like twin angels walking up Jacob’s ladder, or like kindred aspirations soaring up to the Most High” (Spurgeon).

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“The prayers recorded in the Bible are generally not lengthy. God accepts as our prayers all the good thoughts and sentiments of our minds, as well as those expressed by our tongues” (R5311).

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Pray for each otherIn relation to this point, “the Editor” in the Reprints (R2576) of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, writes an encouraging comment in relation to a letter received from a Brother in Christ (i.e. Br. W. E. Vanamburgh from South Dakota, USA):

“We cannot express in words our deep appreciation of the love of the brethren so often expressed in their letters… We assure these dear brethren and all that their love is most heartily reciprocated. We love the brethren and take pleasure in laying down our life in their service. We are glad to know that you remember us and the Lord’s ‘harvest work,’ which he as been pleased to center here in Allegheny, in your prayers. If we may judge from the letters received, thousands of prayers ascend daily on our behalf. We cannot tell you how deeply we appreciate this: it keeps us humble as we remember our needs, and it strengthens us as we remember the Lord’s sufficiency and his willingness to pour out his blessings in answer to your prayers and ours.

These prayers and the divine power to which they are attached are to our hearts a bulwark against the many Satan-blinded foes who beset you and us continually because of our loyalty to the Lord and his Word.”

“The Scriptures not only encourage public and audible prayers amongst the Lord’s people, but point out, also, that he who prays should remember his audience in connection with his ministry, and perform the service so that he who hears may be able to say ‘Amen,’ whether audibly or in his heart” (1 Corinthians 14:13-17) (Volume 6, Studies in the Scriptures, page 688).

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Pray for the peace of Jerusalem“They shall prosper that love thee” (Psalm 122:6).

These words are as true of the Heavenly Jerusalem (government of peace) and her children of peace, as they are of the earthly Jerusalem—which now is, and is in bondage with her children (Galatians 4:25).

“But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26).

“Those who are praying the Lord’s blessing upon his cause are seeking to serve it and are proportionately blessed. Those who are indifferent to the welfare of Zion and the Lord’s cause now, are standing in a slippery place and are in great danger of falling” (R2071).

“The true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

Worship “in spirit and in truth” does not apply simply to prayer, praise, supplication and thanks giving. It goes deeper than all these. It takes hold upon the affections, upon the heart, and hence signifies not an act of worship but rather a life of worshipa life in which, through the begetting of the spirit and the knowledge of the divine plan, the individual becomes so at-one with God and all the features of the plan of God that it is, in the words of our Lord, his meat and his drink to do the Father’s will. This is worship in spirit and in truth. It will find its expression… also in all the acts and words of life (R2071).

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Pray for God’s will to be done. 

“We are not to tell God what to do for we have no means of knowing what is His will in matters in general.

“Our Lord Jesus did not pray in a mandatory fashion. With his petitions, he said, “Not My will, but Thine, be done”—I have no will of my own; for I have given up my will and I desire to have Thy will done. This is a prayer of full submission. It did not mean that our Lord did not pray in faith, nor that he would not get what he desired. It meant that he desired to learn the Father’s will; and he learned that the Father willed that he should drink the cup of suffering to the very dregs” (R5203).

Results of Prayer

It is the privilege of the Lord’s people to ask in order that they may have fullness of joy and the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” rejoicing greatly in hope of the glorious things which the Father has in store for us and which the holy Spirit reveals through the Word.

“The joyful Christian is the thankful Christian. The thankful Christian is the one who is making the best use of his life. By reason of having exercised thankfulness of heart, he will be the better prepared for the kingdom” (R5203).

It is truly an enormous privilege to have access to the presence of God, entering by faith into the Most Holy.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Acknowledgment

Br. Charles T. Russell—The content of this post is derived from a combination of various Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Suggested Further Reading

The Privilege and Power of Prayer by Irwin Doran. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/pray_7.htm

Effectual Prayer by Francis Earl. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
Prayer – Effectual Prayer

Thanksgiving in our Hearts. Adapted, David Steindl-Rast. Beauties of the Truthhttp://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2003nov.pdf

Let This Cup Pass From Me by Jerry Leslie. Beauties of the Truth.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTAUG99.PDF

Hezekiah’s Song of Trust by Carl Hagensick, and Pray Without Ceasing by Peter the Damascene. The Beauties of the Truth. http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTNOV04.pdf

What Is the Purpose and Intent of Prayer; What are its Privileges and Its Limits? BIBLE Students DAILY.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/15/what-is-the-purpose-and-intent-of-prayer-what-are-its-privileges-and-its-limits/

The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength. BIBLE Students DAILY. https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/20/nehemiah-810-the-joy-of-the-lord-is-your-strength/

 

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DANIEL 3:17 – Our God Whom We Serve Is Able To Deliver Us

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“Our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us.” Daniel 3:17

The King of Babylon – King Nebuchadnezzar

Probably twenty years elapsed after Daniel and his companions reached Babylon in captivity before the scenes of the lesson in Daniel Chapter 3 were enacted. Meantime Daniel had been raised to a very high position in the empire, as the King’s counselor, while his three Jewish companions—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednegohad been made magistrates in the provinces of Babylon. We know that their prosperity did not tend to make them careless of their duties and responsibilities toward God, for otherwise they would not have been able to stand the severe test recounted in this lesson, and which proved a great blessing to them because of their fidelity to the Lord.

King Nebuchadnezzar just before this had won some great victories over surrounding nations—Egypt, Syria, etc.—as he had previously done with Judah, and as the Lord had predicted in the dream which Daniel had interpreted for the King, which showed the Babylonian Empire as the golden head of earthly dominion. His great success no doubt had tended to feelings of pride and a desire for display. Yet these were probably not the only motives which led to the program of the great festival in honor of his victories, and the erection of the great image which all were commanded to worship.

With a view to unifying the Babylonian empire by unifying the religious views and worship of the various peoples under his sway, Nebuchadnezzar had a great feast arranged, of which the very center of attraction was the great image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Nebuchadnezzar's image

In Daniel 3:1 we read that this image, with its pedestal, was sixty cubits high (approximately 27 metres or 8 storeys high) and six cubits wide (approximately 2.7 metres wide). It was of gold, probably either made hollow or on a base of clay cement. It was located in the Plain of Dura, about the centre of the walled enclosure twenty-four miles square, known as the city of Babylon. As it is a level country, and as the structures were comparatively low, the image could probably be seen from every part of the great city.

The Festival

The appointed time for the festival having come, leading representatives, judges, treasurers, governors, sheriffs, etc., from all the divisions of the empire, clad in the gorgeous garments of the East, were present. A great band had been prepared, composed of all the musical instruments popular at that period.

As the people stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the herald proclaimed aloud:

“‘You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace'” (Daniel 3:4-6).

By falling down and worshiping the image, the people would thus be indicating their loyalty, not only to King Nebuchadnezzar, but also to his gods who he believed had given him the wonderful victories which they were celebrating.

This was a crucial test for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They knew that the King’s powers were autocratic, and that to cross his will meant death in some form, yet they wanted to be true to God, whatever the cost. It might be that their refusal to prostrate themselves before the image would pass entirely unnoticed by others, or it might be that, even if noticed, the incident might never reach the ears of the King, but such circumstances could make no change in the matter of their duty; whatever others might do, they must not bow the knee to any but the true God. Daniel is omitted from mention here, possibly because, occupying a different position as one of the king’s personal staff and household, his conduct would not come so directly in contrast with the general conduct.

The Hour of Trial

Finally, the hour of trial came, when the great King of Babylon was recognized not only as civil but also as religious ruler, and the image which he had set up was worshiped by the various representatives of his empire—except Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Their neglect to bow was quickly brought to the attention of the King, for no doubt these, like all good men, had their enemies: some enemies through jealousy and rivalry for the King’s favor; other enemies because, perhaps, they had been interrupted or hindered in dishonest practices and contracts with the government. The matter seems to have astounded the king, and hence his inquiry, Is it true, can it be true? Surely, no sane men would be so foolhardy as to oppose my decree, and that in my very presence, and upon such a fete-day as this? Not waiting an answer as respects matters of the past, the king voluntarily proposed for them a fresh test of loyalty and submission.

Perhaps the king’s mind shot a glance backward fifteen years, to the time when the God of the Hebrews, through Daniel, had told and interpreted his dream, a matter which none of the other gods of his wise men could do; and as though he had this in mind, and wishing to impress the matter upon these three Hebrews who had dared to challenge his power, he made the boast, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?” In his arrogance of mind and under the flush of his mighty victories over the greatest nations and mightiest kings, Nebuchadnezzar felt prepared to have a contest even with the unseen and to him unknown invisible powers. He would not be backed down in his own capital city; he would demonstrate his power to inflict a penalty, regardless of what any of the gods might do in retaliation.

The answer of the three Hebrews was a wise one; seeing from the king’s mood that the discussion of the subject would be useless, they did not attempt to retaliate by threatening him with divine vengeance; neither did they attempt to convert the King to Judaism, knowing well that the provisions of the Jewish covenant were not for Gentiles. They simply responded that they were not anxious to avail themselves of the opportunity to argue the matter with the King. They assured him of their full confidence that their God was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, and out of the hand or power of even the greatest king of the earth; but they answered:

 “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16-18).

Angered that his great festal day should be thus marred by even the slightest opposition to his will, the king did not wait to give another opportunity wherein the Hebrews might relent. He saw that it was useless, that they were men of character and determination, and he resolved that he would make an example of them before all the people. The form of his visage or his countenance changed toward these men; whereas once he had admired them, as amongst his ablest counselors and magistrates, and an honor to his empire, now he hated them, as opponents whose course, if not interrupted, might introduce disorder into his empire, and lead to more or less sedition, if copied by others. In his rage he commanded that the furnace be heated seven times, or to its utmost capacity. The furnace, already heated for the occasion, may have been the one used in melting the gold for the image, and must have been of immense size.

Probably as a mark of his great authority, and to show that even the very greatest of his subjects were subordinate to his supreme authority, the king commanded that these three recalcitrant officials be cast into the fiery furnace by prominent officers of his army—no doubt to teach a lesson respecting the power of the army, and the willingness of its chief representatives to serve the king, as against everybody else.

The Hebrews, bound in their official garb, were evidently cast into the furnace from the top, because it is stated that they fell down bound, while the heat was so intense that it even killed those who cast them into the furnace, possibly by the inhalation of the flames, which might kill them instantly.

The King seemed to be having matters his own way, as usual; even the mighty God of the Hebrews had not delivered these men from his power. And yet the King was solicitous and eyed the furnace, and to his surprise beheld those who had been cast into the furnace bound, walking about free in the flames—seemingly uninjured. More than this, he saw a fourth person there, of most remarkable appearance, which caused the King to think and speak of him as one of the gods. No wonder he was astonished; he was evidently contending with a God of whose powers he had been ignorant.

Nebuchadnezzar realized he had made a great mistake in attempting the destruction of three of his most eminent magistrates, and that he was thus defying the great God. He was prompt to make acknowledgement, and approached the furnace, calling out, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” In the presence of the king’s courtiers they came forth, and all beheld them that the fire had done them no injury, not even having singed their clothes or their hair. This was indeed a stupendous miracle, and doubtless was valuable in its influence, not only upon the Gentiles, but also upon the Hebrews residing throughout Babylon, who would thus hear of the power of Jehovah in delivering those faithful to him.

Whether this had a bearing on the subject or not, we know well that, while idolatry had been one of the chief sins of the Israelites before this captivity, there was comparatively little of idolatry in its crude forms in that nation afterward.

Nebuchadnezzar’s acknowledgement of the God of the Hebrews, who sent his messenger and delivered his servants that trusted in him, is very simple and very beautiful. He rejoiced in the noble character of these men, and at once made a decree:

“Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way(Daniel 3:30).

And furthermore, he promoted these faithful men to still higher positions, for they had still more of his confidence respecting their integrity.

Men who would thus hazard their lives for conscience’ sake could be trusted in the most important positions.

Lessons From This Bible Account

The Lord’s people may find in this Biblical story many valuable lessons and suggestions. Not all of God’s people are in such prominent positions as were these Hebrews; and not many have testings of exactly the same kind as were theirs, with a literal fiery furnace before their eyes. Nevertheless, there are trials before the Lord’s people today that are fully as severe.

Babylon the literal was in ruins long before the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos was shown in prophetic vision the mystic or symbolic Babylon “which reigneth over the kings of the earth” today. The provinces of Babylon today are the various civilized nations—really “kingdoms of this world;” but deluded into calling themselves and thinking themselves kingdoms of Christ—“Christendom.” And parallels to the King and the image are also presented in Revelation—they are religious systems symbolically described as “the beast [Papacy] and his image” (Revelation 13:15-18).

The worship of this symbolic beast and his image are to be the great test or trial upon professing Christians in every province of symbolic Babylon in the end of this age and indeed, the testing is even now in progress. Only those who refuse to render worship to those powerfully influential religious systems (symbolized by “the beast and his image”) will be counted by the Lord as “overcomers” and be made his joint-heirs as members of his elect Church (Revelation 20:4).

As already pointed out, the “beast” represents not Roman Catholics (the people) but the Roman Catholic system, as an institution: and the image represents not Protestants (the people) but the consolidation of Protestant systems, as an institution. Those who absolutely refuse to worship its images are already exposed to fiery trials;—social ostracism and financial boycotts. Prominent amongst these is:

The Roman Catholic idolthat church sets itself as the representative of God, and demands worship, obedience and contribution to its funds;

The Greek Catholic Church idol: the Anglican is another; and the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.all similarly demand worship, obedience and revenue. They have “pooled their issues,” to a certain extent, so as not to war upon each other’s devotees, but they unite in warfare against all who do not bow the knee to some such idol (who reverence and worship only the Almighty God, and recognize his only begotten Son as the only Head and Lord of the true Church, whose names are only written in heaven—not on earthly rolls of membership (Hebrews 12:23).

In the “dark ages,” when Papacy had a monopoly of the “church” business, it meant torture and the stake, as well as social ostracism. Today, in many instances there are evidences that the same spirit prevails, merely restrained by changed circumstances and lack of power. Thousands today are worshiping at the various shrines of Christendom who in their hearts long to be free from the sectarian bondage of fear—who fain would serve the Lord God only, had they the courage. And there are some the world over who, with a courage not less than that of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, declare publicly that the Lord God alone shall have the worship and the service which they can render. None, perhaps, know better than the writer the various fiery experiences to which these faithful few are exposedboycotted socially, boycotted in business, slandered in every conceivable manner, and often by those of whom they had least expected it, who, according to the Lord’s declaration, say “all manner of evil against them falsely” (Matthew 5:11,12).

But with these, as with the three Hebrews of our lesson, the chief trial is in connection with their faith; after they have taken a firm stand for the Lord and his truth they may indeed be bound and have their liberties of speech and of effort restrained, and they may indeed be cast into the fiery furnace, but nothing more than these things can be done to them. As soon as they have demonstrated their fidelity to God to this extent, their trials and troubles are turned into blessings and joys. As the form of the Son of God was seen with the Hebrews in the fiery furnace, so unseen, the Lord is present with those who trust him and who, because of faithfulness to him and to his Word, come into tribulation. How beautifully this is expressed in the familiar hymn,

“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all sufficient shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”

And sometimes even the worldly can realize that the Lord’s people in the furnace of affliction are receiving a blessing, and sometimes thus our Heavenly Father’s name is glorified in the world, as in Nebuchadnezzar’s experience.

Sometimes the Lord’s people who are bound, restrained of liberty to proclaim the truth, find, as did those Hebrews, that the fire burns the cords and sets them free, and really gives them larger opportunities to testify to the glory of our God than they could have had by any other course.

The Lord’s providences vary, and it is not for his people to decide when shall come remarkable deliverances, and when they shall apparently be left entirely to the will of their enemies without any manifestation of divine favor on their behalf.

Note, for instance, the fact that, while the Lord interposed to deliver these three Hebrews from the fiery furnace, he did not interpose to prevent the beheading of John the Baptist, although of the latter it is specifically declared, “There hath not arisen a greater prophet than John the Baptist.” We remember that, while Peter was delivered from prison by the angel of the Lord, James was not delivered, but was beheaded. We remember also that Paul’s life was miraculously preserved on several occasions, and that the Apostle John, according to tradition, was once cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, but escaped uninjured, while on other occasions dire disaster came upon the Lord’s faithful ones, and that quickly, as in the case of Stephen, who was stoned.

It is not, therefore, for us to predetermine what shall be the divine providence in respect to ourselves; we are to note the point of right and duty and to follow it regardless of consequences, trusting implicitly in the Lord. This lesson is most beautifully set forth in the language of the three Hebrews, who declared to King Nebuchadnezzar that their God was entirely capable of delivering them from his power, but that, whether he chose to do so or not, they would not violate their conscience.

It is just such characters that the Lord is seeking for, and it is in order to their development and testing that multiform evil is now permitted to have sway.

While such testings have been in progress to a considerable extent throughout this entire Gospel age, the Scriptures clearly indicate to us that in some special sense all of the Lord’s people will be tested in the “harvest” or closing time of this age. Our Lord speaks of it, likening our Christian faith to a house, and represents the trials in the end of this age as a great storm which will beat upon every house, with the result that all that are founded upon the rock will stand, and all founded upon the sand will collapse. The Apostle Peter speaks of this trial-time, saying:

“Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as tho some strange thing happened unto you” (1 Peter 4:12).

We are to expect a testing in the end of this age, just as there was a testing of the Jewish nominal church in the end of its age. As in that testing there was a thorough, complete separating of the “wheat” from the “chaff,” so here the separating will be complete between the “wheat” and the “tares,” as our Lord declares (Matthew 13:24-30). Throughout the age the “wheat” and the “tares,” by divine arrangement, have been permitted to grow side by side; but in the “harvest” the separation must occur, that the “wheat” may be “garnered,” received to the Kingdom.

The Apostle Paul, also, speaks of this time of fiery trial, and, likening the faith and works of a zealous Christian to a house built of gold, silver and precious stones, he declares that the fire of this day, in the end of this age, shall try every man’s work of what sort it is, and shall consume all but the genuine faith and character structures (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). But we are to remember that such loyal characters grow not suddenly, in a few hours or days—mushroom-like,—but are progressive developments, fine-grained and strong like the olive tree.

We who have become “new creatures” reckonedly, in Christ, know that we are to be tested (if our testing has not already commenced), and should realize that only as we practice self-denials in the little things of life, and mortify (deaden) the natural cravings of our flesh in respect to food, clothing, conduct, etc., will we become strong spiritually and be able to “overcome.”

Many deal slackly with themselves in respect to little violations of their consecration vow, saying,—“What’s the use” of such carefulness and so different a life from that of the world in general? Ah! there is great use in it, for victories in little things prepare for greater victories and make them possible: and on the contrary, surrender to the will of the flesh in the little things means sure defeat in the warfare as a whole. Let us remember the maxim laid down by our Great Teacher—that he that is faithful in the things that are least will be faithful also in the things which are great. And this is the operation of a law, whose operations may be discerned in all the affairs of life.

Our Lord expresses the same thought, saying,—To him that hath (used) shall be given (more), and from him that hath not (used) shall be taken away that which he hath. If we start on a Christian life ever so weak in the flesh and weak in spirit, we will find that faithfulness in the little things will bring increasing strength in the Lord and in the power of his might. But it is in vain that we pray, “Lord, Lord,” and hope for great victories and the “crown of rejoicing,” if we fail to do our best to conquer in the little affairs of daily life. In other words, our testing is in progress from the moment of our consecration, and the little trials are but preparations for greater ones which, when faithfully attained, we will be able to reckon with the Apostle as light afflictions which are but for a moment, and which are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

The answer of the Hebrews to Nebuchadnezzar,—“Our God whom we serve,” is worthy of note. They not only acknowledged God and worshiped him, but they additionally served him, according as they had opportunity. And so it will be found today: those who have the necessary strength of character to refuse to worship human institutions and thereby to “suffer the loss of all things,” counting them but as loss and dross, that they may win Christ and be found finally complete in him, as members of his glorified body, and joint-heirs in his Kingdom, not only practice self-denials, but gladly serve and confess the Lord in their daily life. Rightly appreciated, a profession of love for the Lord would always be a profession of service to his cause. Whoever is not rendering some service to our King in the present time of multiplied opportunities has at very most the “lukewarm” love that is offensive to the Master (Revelation 2:4; 3:16).

Let us resolve, dear brethren, as did the three Hebrews of this lesson, that we will worship and serve only the Lord our Godthat we will neither worship nor serve sectarianism, in any of its many forms, nor mammon, with its many enticements and rewards, nor fame, nor friends, nor self. 

God “seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth,” is the declaration of our Lord and Head (John 4:23,24).

Acknowledgement

Br. Charles Taze Russell – The above content is based on Reprint 2494-2497 – from The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Suggested Further Reading

Daniel The Beloved
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/bio_3.htm

Daniel and the Lions
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTMAY98.PDF

Daniel In Babylon
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/proph_31.htm

Trials
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB98.PDF

Time and Prophecy 
http://2043ad.com/timeandprophecy.pdf

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Mystery or Confusion
http://www.heraldmag.org/1999/99nd_3.htm

The Origin of the Trinity – From Paganism To Constantine
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm

Facts About the Trinity http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/FACTS%20ABOUT%20THE%20TRINITY.htm

God and the Trinities
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_42.htm

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/23/father-son-and-holy-spirit/

What Is the Heavenly Father’s Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Jesus – The Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

The Doctrine of Christ – Booklet
http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

Daniel the Beloved of Jehovah (paper back book) by R.E. Streeter –

Streeter-Daniel-Paperback_cropped_with_shadow-424x600

This book can be purchased through the Chicago Bible Students bookstore at the following link:

https://chicagobible.org/product/daniel-the-beloved-paperback/

 

book-of-daniel-activity-book-biblestudentsdaily-com

The Book of Daniel- Children’s Activity Book – free online here for use in proclaiming the glorious Gospel message:

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/02/05/the-book-of-daniel-childrens-activity-book/

 

 

 

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Dead To The World – Hymns Of Dawn No. 192

Dead To The World – Hymns of Dawn No. 192

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11, ESV).

Lyrics

1.
Not to ourselves again,
Not to the flesh we live;
Not to the world henceforth shall we
Our strength, our being give.

2.
The time past of our lives,
Sufficeth to have wrought
The fleshly will, which only ill
Has to us ever brought.

3.
No truce with vanity,
Or this world’s idle show;
Lust of the flesh and eye, or pride
Of life, we shall not know.

4.
Dead to the world and all
Its gayety and pride
To its vain pomp and glory be
Forever crucified.

5.
When he who is our life
Appears to take the throne,
We, too, shall be revealed, and shine
In glory like his own.

6.
Shine as the sun shall we
In the bright kingdom then;
Our sky without a single cloud,
Ourselves without a stain.

7.
Like him we then shall be
Transformed and glorified;
For we shall see him as he is,
And in his light abide.

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased here:
The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/
The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm

Colossians 3  – Put On the New Self

Rotherham Translation:

(1) If, therefore, ye have been raised together with the Christ, the things on high, be seeking, where, the Christ, is—on the right hand of God, sitting; (2) The things on high, hold in esteem, not the things upon the earth: (3) For ye have died, and, your life, is hid, together with the Christ, in God,— (4) As soon as, the Christ, shall be made manifest—our life, then, ye also, together with him, shall be made manifest in glory;

(5) Make dead, therefore, your members that are on the earth—as regardeth fornication, impurity, passion, base coveting, and greed, the which, is idolatry,— (6) On account of which things cometh the anger of God,— (7) Wherein, ye also, walked, at one time, when ye were living in these things; (8) But, now, do, ye also, put them all away,—anger, wrath, baseness, defamation, shameful talk out of your mouth: (9) Be not guilty of falsehood one to another: having stript off the old man, together with his practices,

(10) And having put on the new—who is being moulded afresh unto personal knowledge, after the image of him that hath created him,— (11) Wherein there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, bond, free,—but, all things and in all, Christ: (12) Put on, therefore, as men chosen of God, holy and beloved, tender affections of compassion, graciousness, lowliness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, (13) Bearing one with another, and in favour forgiving one another—if any, against any, have a complaint,—according as, the Lord, in favour forgave you, so also ye; (14) And, over all these things, love, which is a uniting-bond of completeness;

(15) And let, the peace of Christ, act as umpire in your hearts, unto which ye have been called in [one] body, and be thankful: (16) Let, the word of the Christ, dwell within you richly,—in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, with gratitude, raising song with your hearts unto God: (17) And whatsoever ye may be doing, in word, or in work, all things, [do] in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto the Divine Father through him:— (18) Ye wives! be submitting yourselves unto your husbands, as is becoming in the Lord; (19) Ye husbands! be loving your wives, and be not embittered against them;

(20) Ye children! be obedient unto your parents in all things, for, this, is, well pleasing, in the Lord; (21) Ye fathers! be not irritating your children, lest they be disheartened; (22) Ye servants! be obedient, in all things, unto them who, according to the flesh, are your masters,—not with eye-service, as man-pleasers, but with singleness of heart, revering the Lord,— (23) Whatsoever ye may be doing, from the soul, be working at it, as unto the Lord, and not unto men,- (24) Knowing that, from the Lord, ye shall duly receive the recompense of the inheritance,—unto the Lord Christ, are ye in service; (25) For, he that acteth unrighteously, shall get back what he had unrighteously done, and there is no respect of persons;

Acknowledgment & References

Br. Charles Taze Russell

pastor-russell-in-his-study.jpg

Br. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled ““Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

Hymns of Dawn.jpg

 

The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/09/26/dead-to-the-world-hymns-of-dawn-no-192/

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Abide, Sweet Spirit – Hymns of Dawn No. 1

Abide, Sweet Spirit – Hymns of Dawn No. 1

Lyrics

1.
Abide, sweet Spirit, heav’nly Dove,
With light and comfort from above;
Be thou our guardian, thou our guide;
O’er ev’ry thought and step preside.

2.
To us the light of truth display,
And make us know and choose thy way;
Plant holy fear in ev’ry heart,
That we from God may ne’er depart.

3.
Lead us in holiness, the road
Which we must keep to dwell with God;
Lead us in Christ, the living way;
Nor let us from his pastures stray.

4.
Teach us in watchfulness and prayer
To wait for thine appointed hour;
And fit us by thy grace to share
The triumphs of thy conq’ring pow’r.

Doxology
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him aloud with heart and voice,
And always in His Son rejoice.

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased here:

The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm
The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/

Acknowledgment & References

Br. Charles Taze Russell

pastor-russell-in-his-study.jpg

Br. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled ““Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

Hymns of Dawn.jpg

 

The URL of this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/09/06/abide-sweet-spirit-hymns-of-dawn-no-1/

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Are You in the Little Flock?

Many called few chosen- 2.jpg

You can quote scriptures from the Apostle Paul, from James, from Isaiah and Malachi, but only when you hear the words of Jesus does it have power. I’m not saying there is no power in the others, but when Jesus speaks we listen! And this is what he says:

“Strive to enter in at the narrow gate, for many I say unto you will seek to enter in and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).

Now there’s a companion text to that in Matthew 22:14:

Many are called, but few are chosen.”

This is a sobering kind of text. It shakes me up!

Are you one of the many called, or are you the one that’s not chosen?

Most of you are called, but will you be the one chosen? This is a powerful idea. It circumvents all the things in the scriptures—the Tabernacle and the shadows.

If I asked, what is the foremost question in your mind?  What is the question you want answered? If a call came in and God’s on the phone and He says I will answer any question as long as it’s one question, what question would you ask? Would it be whether the Levites are in the Great Company class? … What’s the question that burns in your mind?

Have I made it in the Little Flock?

The Apostle Paul even wanted the answer to this question. In 66 ad when he was martyred, the Apostle Paul said, I have made it!  Did God give him that answer? I don’t think so. I think he just had the confidence – I’ve done the job, I’ve executed the mission, I’ve done what the Lord wanted me to do. Can you say the same thing? Do you have that confidence?

Jesus said, Strive to enter in. Does the word “strive” mean relax, take your lounge? The word means “to vigorously apply oneself with great strenuous effort toward a goal or a mission.” “Strive” means to unceasingly reach for success, to battle, to fight.

What’s the opposition preventing you from making it?

Satan’s one. He doesn’t want you to make it, not because he has anything personally against you, but only because he knows that when the 144,000 is complete that’s the end of him!

The second opposition is our inherited imperfection. We are not born perfect. We’ve got a lot of imperfections, we’re in captivity, in slavery. It restrains us. Then we have the opposition of the government, from poor education, from poor relationships, opposition from poor health. All these weigh heavily on you and these restraints prevent us from striving, because striving means to struggle with these captivities, to fight these restraints.

Didn’t Jesus say that many will not be able to enter in? These are the words of Jesus.

Look around you – you’re not all going to make it! I’m sorry but I have to say it, and I’m saying it to myself because it burns within me.

I want to be in that Little Flock and I will do anything that’s necessary to do it.

Do you have that same determination, that same fight?

Striving is the process for releasing these captivities; it’s the path toward freedom from restrictions. Striving is the process of becoming better, the road to perfection. This is what the Holy Spirit does for us. It gives us the strength to rid the captivities, moving us toward being part of that divine family.

We’re not all going to make it!

Striving is the benchmark, and benchmark means a marked point of evaluation that indicates you’re doing what is expected. It is the standard model, a kind of touchstone. God sees your striving as a benchmark. God does not look at your imperfections, He knows you’re already imperfect, but He’s looking to see how you’re striving. Do you get it – striving to move ahead?

Remember what Jesus said:

Strive, strive, strive!

Many will not be able to do it.

  • We strive for knowledge, but how much knowledge is enough? You will never reach the ultimate knowledge but we strive to get as much knowledge as we can.
  • We strive for sacrifices, but how much sacrifice is enough? We don’t know how much. How much sacrifice does the Lord accept?
  • We strive for goodness, but how much goodness is enough?  We don’t know. Jesus said there’s only one that’s good and that’s God. You’re striving to be good when there’s only One that’s good, so how much goodness must we do to be acceptable?
  • We strive for services, but how much service is enough? We strive to do as many services as we can, but can we really be perfect? What is the answer if we cannot reach the absoluteness of these values?

It’s striving, acting and reacting strenuously to go as high with these values as we can. God sees the striving; that’s what He’s looking at.

If you’re not striving it means you feel you have arrived, but if you keep striving you are recognizing that you’re going towards where He wants you to be.

Time Is Running Out.

God’s time clock for those of the high calling will shortly shut down.

Don’t look at the high calling  and think it’s going to go on and on and on. It won’t!

It’s going to shut down one day.

There’s a spiritual urgency and we can no longer delay.

We can no longer defer what we must do while the door is still open. It may close next year or in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years but probably not beyond that.

What’s sobering about this kind of evaluation and appraisal is your destiny in a class where you will remain in that class eternally.

Do you understand that? Do you know what destiny means?

It means future living, the provenance of life, the inevitability. Whatever class you achieve – the divine class, the Great Company class, the human class, or the second-death class – whichever class you’re in you will be in that class not 100 years, 1000 years, 1,000,000 years, 100,000,000 years, No, for ever and ever and ever because we have no indication that there will be another change of nature.

NOW is the time for you to affect your destiny. Get to it! There is an urgency.

 Fight, and fight hard for your destiny.

Destiny is only a word but you know that it means forever.

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Don’t get fixed on earth!

Time is short and drawing to an end.

The lesson is that if you’re going to make your calling and election sure, you must get with it because the door to the high calling will not be shut until all who are called will have the opportunity to crystallize their characters and show themselves approved unto God. All the prophetic events, all the promises and all the due-time accomplishments will be completed – we’re not discounting them. Everything has to be done, but you’re the most delayed element in all of them. The rest of them the Lord God can change overnight.

There’s another issue here: the validation of God’s Plan. Do you want to help God with His Plan? Most of our prayers are Lord, help me, I’ve got this problem. Lord, we need this. Always me, me, me.

How many of us have ever said, Lord, what can I do to help you? How many have asked that question? I’ll give you the answer because the answer is intrinsic in the divine plan:

Make your calling and election SURE!

When you do that you validate His Plan because He called you to do that. If you don’t make it He will call someone else to replace you. When you make your calling and election sure, things will move more rapidly.

There will be no kingdom, no resurrection, no eternity, nothing will happen until that Little Flock is completed and they help God with His Plan. That’s YOU!

It’s frightening and sobering to think we are such an important part of God’s Plan. We must remember what’s happening: God is re-creating us. To create means to originate a new form, a new design. We were created once but it didn’t work out well, so we are being re-created. In our first creation you didn’t have a choice. We didn’t pick our parents or our genetic package, our style of imperfection. But here God is saying you now have choice. You can choose who you want to be in those ages of ages, you have choice. Jesus says, Strive to enter into the narrow gate for many will not be able to.

God is not trying to make us clones of Jesus even though we try to be like him. We can never be like him because Jesus was the Logos, he has a different genetics, he was the son of God, he was perfect – we cannot be exactly like him but we can have a likeness of him.

How Are We Like Jesus?

We’re like him in the way he lived, the principles he lived, those divine principles of God. Do you know what those principles are?

I want to share a few with you and light a fire under you.

1. Upgrade your consecration. Most of us are consecrated to a model we had years ago, and I’ll refer to that later.

2. Incorporate these divine principles into our re-creation. That’s how you have to think of yourself. You are changing your nature, you are going to be a divine being. That’s what Jesus meant when he said about John the Baptist that he was greater than any of the prophets. That’s quite an evaluation! Then he said, The least in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist. WOW!

That means you’re greater than Abraham, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Daniel and all these great prophets!

How are you greater than them? Not one of them was being changed into the divine being.

YOU are! That’s what the Lord Jesus meant.

You are going to acquire a kind of inheritance that no one has ever had, not even the angels who were not begotten but created.

Back to Point 1: increasing our services. Upgrade your model of consecration: I hear it so often said that “if I follow the beatitudes I’ll make it.” Another will say, “if I can follow the fruits of the spirit and do a good job there I’ll be in the Little Flock.” These are notions of yesterday; the new consecration model is to recognise that there are many models in the Bible, not just one. The beatitudes is one, fruits of the spirit is two, John’s message to the churches is three, Peter’s Christian virtues is four, Moses’ tabernacle processes is five, James’ spiritual fruits is six, and Paul’s mark of the four quarters is seven. There are seven models. Which one do you want to fill?

I suggest you put them all together into a composite model, that is, statistically see how many of these various virtues are found in every one of them. I did that for you and found:

  1. The first is to love. That’s the big one.
  2. The second is to sacrifice, and that’s big, too. It isn’t giving up a meal but sacrificing on behalf of other people.
  3. The third is to learn. Learning is not preparation for the Little Flock, it is part of it.
  4. The fourth is to be holy, sinless. Sinning is serious with God. He doesn’t want sinners in the holy family.
  5. The fifth is to serve, serving to reconcile.
  6. The sixth is to be zealous for God’s work
  7. The seventh is to be re-created and loyal to God Himself.

That’s the composite model. Let’s take a second suggestion: Re-examine and change your attitude about the divine nature.

When does the divine nature begin?

Most of you would say, at the resurrection. When Jesus was resurrected, was he resurrected to a spiritual nature and then later given the divine nature? Or was he resurrected with a divine nature?  I’m only saying that we have to address ourselves to divine nature because what does “nature” mean. I like the word “likeness”. We are like Jesus; we are like God, but we’re not God. How? We live like He does with the same principles. What are they?

  1. To love first: (John 3:16). In the 2 billion Christians in the world today, most practice a reaction love – I will love you if you love me. God doesn’t have that love. God practises a first love. GOD first initiates the love.
  1. Loving without reward: (Matthew 6:3). We’ve got to stop asking, What’s in it for me? Do something without getting any credit for it. That’s a hard thing to do – I want my name on that!
  1. Giving to others: (Luke 6:38). “Give” should be your middle name. Keep giving until it hurts. I sometimes wonder why the Lord wants us to be like that. It’s because the Lord is going to give you the divine power, a divine body. What are you going to do with that? Are you going to keep it to yourself? Oh, I’m a divine being! God doesn’t want that because God doesn’t like that way. He gives and you too must give when you become a divine being but you have to practise it now as a principle.
  1. Loving your enemy: Don’t take revenge if someone does an injustice to you. How many times among the brethren injustice has happened to us? Do you try to get even? We’re not going to invite them to our convention any more! That’s getting even. Don’t get even. Loving your enemy means for any injustice, not judging according to external appearances. If you can’t get along with people here on earth, brethren with the holy Spirit, what makes you think you’re going to get along with them up there?
  1. Upgrade your services: Our call to be re-created to the divine nature is also a call to service. Once we get into the Little Flock we’re not going to lie in a hammock and someone will bring us cold drinks!

It’s very simple:

The Lord has called you to go to work. There’s a big work.

It’s been estimated 20 billion has ever lived. Science says there have been 100 billion people since the Ice Age — that’s a lot of people. And we’ve heard the sort of things that have to be done. We have to reconcile a lot of people. That’s work! Just wait to see what has to be done. And the Lord says, Do it now!  This is the work of the Kingdom.

[NOTE: There are currently seven billion people alive today and the Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived. (According to the BBC News in 2012)]

Brethren in Christ,

Let us get with divine principles, as many as we can, incorporate them into our lifestyle, because we want to please God and be part of the Little Flock.

Make sure you don’t lose it!

I am going to be in that Little Flock if it kills me, and it may kill me, but at least I can say I tried.

I am going to fight, to struggle.

We know we’re not perfect and our failings have been numbered, but what is precious in God’s sight is our striving.

If you’re not striving, you’re not trying to get into the Little Flock.

The gift of grace from God is precious. USE every moment you got now in the service of the Lord, and get to work like never before with the mind FIXED… SUPERGLUED to Jesus, to bring GREATEST JOY to our Heavenly Father!

Amen.

Acknowledgment & reference:

Br. Paul Mali – his discourse.

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/03/are-you-in-the-little-flock/

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2 Corinthians 5:20 – What Does Being “Ambassadors for Christ” Mean ?

2 COR. 5, 20

What is an ambassador ?

According to Wikipedia, an ambassador is :

“an official envoy, especially a highest ranking diplomat who represents a state and is usually accredited to another sovereign state, or to an international organization as the resident representative of their own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment… They are stationed in a foreign country and they as well as the embassy staff are granted diplomatic immunity and personal safety while living abroad.”

Apostle Paul made it clear to us that those who are accepted of God and begotten of the holy spirit are ambassadors of another country:

“For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20, ASV).

“For he has delivered us out of the dominion of the darkness, and transplanted us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 11:13).

The Apostle Paul

Apostle Paul referred to himself as an “ambassador in chains” (Ephesians 6:20). This is hardly the view we take of diplomatic ambassadors today. But Paul does not say this to elicit pity. Rather he tells the Church not to lose heart over what he is suffering because it is for the Church’s glory.

Truly Apostle Paul was a great ambassador!

Should we not also represent our head, Christ Jesus and SHINE like stars in the sky, being blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation”? (Philippians 2:15)

YES we MUST do so… not tomorrow… BUT NOWright NOW… the High Calling of the Gospel Age is soon to end and Christ’s Bride composed of 144,000 members, shall hath made herself ready!

Dear Brethren, we will not miss out for the chance of eternal eternities and forevermore to belong to the BODY of Christ… to be counted worthy of the prize of the High Calling… of bringing our Heavenly Father grandest JOY and who shall present the Bride as the most righteous gift to Christ!

Let us “trim our lamps” as the “wise virgins” (Matthew 25:7) and stay separate from this world (2 Corinthians 6:17); and be “peculiar people” renouncing the world and its evil desires!

“14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world…” (Philippians 2:14-15).

Prepare yourselves through strict training and discipline to belong to the ONE BRIDEGROOM ONLYlet JESUS BE YOUR HEAD–SEEK him; SEARCH for him; COPY him; make him proud; REPRESENT him in spite of ALL RIDICULE and SUFFERING in this world.

“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.
27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, ESV).

The Apostle Paul encourages us: “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20, KJV).

Qualifications of an Ambassador

As ambassadors of Christ, how should we conduct ourselves? What is our role?
Let’s consider the following characteristics of an ideal ambassador:

  1. PATIENCE

An ambassador listens carefully to the citizens of the countries he is involved in helping to understand their needs and situation so that any conflicts or disagreements can be resolved in peace. The Apostle Paul was so patient through his experiences as a prisoner and in his dealings with rulers he sought to bring about mutual understanding concerning the Truth.

  1. WISDOM

An ambassador uses his knowledge of people to (as far as possible) resolve conflicts between any parties involved. We have an example of this by the Apostle Paul–when question by rulers and confronted by hostile Jews and Greeks, he used Godly wisdom to answer.

“Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial” (Acts 23:6, ESV).

  1. GRACIOUS SPEECH

As a spokesperson for his country, an ambassador is one who encourages and entreats with his words rather than causing any offence or hostility, as well as seeking the good of all. We see this in Apostle Paul’s conduct here:

“32Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:32-33, KJV).

Apostle Peter explains: 11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12, KJV).

  1. GENEROUSAn ambassador will use his time and talents to help others, especially as it promotes the interests of his home government, even at personal sacrifice and we note how Apostle Paul laid down his life for kingdom interests  in Philippians 2:4:-

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  1. REASONABLENESS

An ambassador will try to help those in his host country and persuade them to appreciate the benefit of his counsel. Paul continually appealed to others to accept his counsel concerning Christ’s kingdom and the blessing it will be to all.

  1. HONESTY

An ambassador tells the truth and uses facts to persuade others. He neither deceives nor exaggerates to achieve his way. Paul was forthright, even on occasion calling the attention of Peter and others to what appeared to be a misleading example.

11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” (Galatians 2:11-14, ESV).

  1. UNDER READINESS OF MIND

An ambassador is ever alert to represent and promote the interest of his government even at the risk of personal benefit or gain.

Apostle Paul did not let opportunities slip by him, to regret latter. He embraced his appointed service with diligence. As Jesus, “for the joy set before him” endured ALL manner of rebuff and persecution, so Apostle Paul followed the example of Jesus (1 Corinthians 4:11-13).

  1. HUMILITY

An ambassador recognizes that he has no personal authority apart from the country he represents. Further, as he provides instruction and direction, he explains the laws of his home country.

Though Apostle Paul was a leading light in the early church, he considered himself the “least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9, Ephesians 3:8).

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Corinthians 15:9).

“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8, ESV).

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If we as Christians could keep these thoughts always prominent before our minds, what a dignity it would add to our character! What a transforming power it would be!

What an assistance to the new nature in its battle with the low and grovelling tendencies of the old nature now disowned by us and reckoned dead!

Dear friends, let us remember that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

While still living in the world, we are not of it but have transferred our allegiance and citizenship to the Kingdom. And now, as appointees of our Kingdom, while still living in the world among aliens and strangers, we as representatives and ambassadors should feel both the dignity and the honor of the position and the weighty responsibilities and keep in memory the Apostle’s words,

Whatsoever ye do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus(Colossians 3:23).

(Refer to Reprints of the Original Watch Tower page 3329 for a lovely article titled “Do All in the Name of the Lord Jesus.“)

We can learn by Apostle Paul’s wonderful example of ambassadorship and demonstrate, as he did, a ministry of reconciliation now.

Our Christ-like behavior in this world brings a certain amount of help and healing to a world that needs deliverance.

“A wicked messenger falleth into unhappiness; but a faithful ambassador bringeth healing
(Proverbs 13:17, Leeser).

This will prepare us well for the greater reconciliation of all mankind in which we will participate, no longer as ambassadors, but rather as kings and priests with Jesus.

What a hope is ours!

May we do ALL in our power to glorify our Heavenly Father Jehovah through Jesus Christ, GOD’s Son–in our bodies and our spirit which belong to our Head—Jesus CHRIST.

Reference:

Special thanks to Br. David Stein for source material from the article Paul the Ambassador“, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, August/September 2011.

 

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Philippians 4:8 -Whatsoever things are just…

“Whatsoever things are just,…think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

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We are not to allow our minds to run along lines that would be unjust, and we are to learn to apply this test of justice to every thought and word and act of ours, while learning at the same time to view the conduct of others from a different standpoint–so far as reason will permit, from the standpoint of mercy, forgiveness, pity, helpfulness. But we cannot be too careful how we criticize every thought we entertain, every plan we mature, that the lines of justice shall in no sense of the word be infringed by us with our hearts’ approval. Z.’03-9 R3129:3